Holiday makers in the UK lost a total of £7m last year (2018) due to holiday booking fraud.
ABTA says that 5,000 people reported to action fraud about the money lost which accounts to £1,380 per person = £7m
The biggest scam and the most reported (53%) was the sale of airline tickets, one person lost £425,000 last year!
Accomodation was the next biggest scam (25%) many people choosing to contact action fraud during the month of October.
Trafford Council offered some advice for holiday makers this year:
- Check that the booking agent’s web address has not been altered such as going from .co.uk to a .org
- Do not rely on one review and do a thorough online search to check the firms credentials
- Make sure the company is registered with ABTA
- Always pay by card where possible and avoid paying into a bank account
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said:
“ABTA sees at first-hand the damage caused by travel fraudsters after customers find out their much anticipated holiday or trip to visit family and friends does not actually exist.
“This is why ABTA, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online work together to make people aware of the steps they can take to avoid falling foul of a holiday scam.
“The cost to victims is not just financial; this crime causes very real emotional distress.
“Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited, as they know people will be looking for good deals.
“As victims often find out just before they travel or even in resort that they have been defrauded, it can then be very difficult and expensive to obtain a legitimate replacement booking compounding the financial costs and emotional distress suffered by victims. ”
Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said:
“We all love to go on holiday to relax and spend time with family and friends, however as this year’s statistics show, holidays are also an opportunity for fraudsters to trick you out of your hard-earned money.
“There is a startling emotional impact of falling victim to holiday fraud bringing the feeling of embarrassment and disappointment to those we love, so we want to ensure that people feel better able to protect themselves.
We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, which is why it is important that you do your research when making travel arrangements. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud.”
Report scams to actionfraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040